Enchanted Forest

Lights, music… action! This October the Perthshire forest will wait until evening falls to come alive.

Photography by Angus Forbes please credit when using

Think Avatar’s world of Pandora meets Disney’s Fantasia, but in a real life forest setting.

Photography by Angus Forbes please credit when using

You might think an outdoor sound and light show just as we head in to the Scottish winter is totally crazy, and let’s face it, you’d probably be right. But just wait till you see the transformation of Faskally Wood, and the weather will be the last thing on your mind.

The forest is worth seeing in the daylight for it’s autumnal tones and scenery alone. But wait for darkness, whack on some innovative light installations, atmospheric music and visuals, and you’re looking at something pretty special.

Photography by Angus Forbes please credit when using

Last year the show sold out of it’s 62,000 tickets (hence the reason for this timely blog post) so make sure to book in quick for the 15th annual show.

This year’s show – ‘Shimmer’ is The Enchanted Forest’s most ambitious display to date.

Photography by Angus Forbes please credit when using

The organisers like to keep details of the show a surprise, but what we do know is that this year’s show will follow the theme of an enchanted wood and there are promises of some larger than life characters.

The light displays are undoubtedly the focal point of the show, but there are always little touches like dancing fountains and acrobats to really illuminate the surrounding nature.

Photography by Angus Forbes please credit when using

 

There’s so much detail to take in that you’ll have to take a few trips around the forest to take it all in. With every walk around you’ll notice something new. And don’t be put off if it rains, the drops only add to the enchanted forest, making the lights glisten and sparkle even more.

National Wellness Day

Since we opened our doors in 1868, we’d like to think we’ve changed a fair bit.

There’s been over £40 million worth of investment since our beginnings, and we somehow doubt we would have 1000 visitors each day if we were still a dry venue! But one thing we do like to stick to our roots with, is our attitudes to wellness.crieff-hydro-1904_52683

Our story began with guests checking in to try out the latest in fashionable freezing spring-water cures. Almost 150 years later; we’ve introduced some brilliant new products, added just the right amount of heat to our pools – and our water cures are as popular as ever… although a lot more relaxing!

We’ve substituted the weird and wonderful water prescriptions of 19th century Hydro, for spa treatments, a sauna, steam room, spa bath and our perfectly heated Victorian spa pool. To create a much more pleasant (and warmer) water based experience.

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In the spa we partnered up with BABOR, the number one in German professional skincare, and we don’t think BABOR could be more at home than here at the Hydro. Their treatments use the healing power of water in their methods and in all of the products themselves.

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Our leisure facilities have taken a different turn too, gone are the days when one had to arrive to take part in exercise suited and booted. We’ve now got over 20 cardiovascular machines and a full timetable of fitness classes.

We waved goodbye to the peculiar ‘exercise’ regimes offered back in 1868. These days if you’re looking to shed a few pounds or increase upper body strength, then our team are on hand with some real scientific advice – unlike this curious contraption that we offered all those years ago!

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Alongside some of our more strenuous classes, we recently included yoga in our exercise timetable. Yoga focusses on strength, balance, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing.

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We’ve definitely changed a lot, (you couldn’t have jumped on a quad and roared around the off-road track back in the day, most-unsightly!) but it’s nice to know that our founding messages of being a centre for wellness are still relevant.

Thank goodness for science and technology for helping us find a more therapeutic way of getting our message across!

Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight

It’s time to shine the spotlight on our brilliant local suppliers. The 3rd-18th September is the Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, so that means we’re about to embark on a whole two-weeks of celebrating the best in Scottish produce.

We’re not sure if you knew… but we’re pretty proud to be Scottish. While we think it’s really important to support our local businesses, it’s almost too easy with the range of premium quality food and drink that comes out of our wee country.

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So without further ado, let’s wet our whistles…

We’ll start with our friends at Arbikie Highland Estate Distillery. The Stirling brothers’ 2000-acre farm is home to their single-site operation, from farm to bottle. The growing of ingredients, distilling, maturing and bottling all take place on their Arbroath estate, and they even have their own mountain-filtered water supply from their underground lagoon.

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You can try one of their world class gin or vodkas, but sadly you’ll have to wait ‘til 2029 to try out the Arbikie whisky, as they refuse to release anything younger than a 14-year-old malt. It’s all about quality with Arbikie, at only three years old, their products are already being stocked in Harrods, The Ritz and of course, here at Crieff Hydro!

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It wouldn’t be a celebration of Scottish refreshments without a wee dram of our most proud export – whisky! The liquid nectar makes up a massive quarter of the whole of the UK’s food and drink exports. You can head to the Meikle bar to check out our whisky wall with over 80 of the finest Scottish malts to choose from.

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For a local nip, try out the Deanston single malt, distilled only a half hour’s drive from our front door. Of course for a real taste of Crieff it has to be The Glenturret, distilled only a half hour walk from us here. Both of these working distilleries are open for tours with the The Glenturret home to The Famous Grouse Experience and the Deanston single malt offering their chocolate and whisky tours.

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Next it’s on to our choice of Scottish craft beers. You’ve got to try out the Harviestoun brewery’s range. Brewed in Alva near Stirling, their award winning beers are full of flavour and they’re always experimenting with new ingredients. You can try their Ola Dubh barrel aged beer in the Meikle, Bitter & Twisted golden ale in the Brasserie or the popular Schiehallion at our Clubhouse.

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Next up its Brewdog, our craft beer experts. If you’ve not heard of them already, where have you been hiding?! These guys have been creating craft beer for under a decade but are already exporting to over 50 countries from their base in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. Their Punk IPA (which you can try in The Hub) is the biggest selling craft beer in the UK and Scandinavia.

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It’s got to be said, we’re not doing too badly at all when it comes to making drinks… especially for a wee country! 😊😊

Caledonian Camino

It looks like we’re going to find ourselves in the midst of a 185-mile walkway.

No, don’t worry – The Proclaimers haven’t taken over Crieff…

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Plans for the ‘Caledonian Camino’ – a pilgrimage from the Isle of Iona, through Crieff and right across to St Andrews are beginning to take form.

The planned route from East Coast to West Coast will pass through Oban, Tyndrum, Crieff and Dundee. And Crieff Community Trust are busily putting together the best route through town, for the walk across Scotland.

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One of the five sections of the pilgrimage, the 70-mile Fife stretch, is already underway. It gained support from a £400,000 Heritage Lottery Fund award and should be ready for walkers by 2018.

The SPRF (Scottish Pilgrim Routes Forum) plan to use the success of the Fife scheme as a platform to promote and secure a path for the rest of the walk.

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The project is inspired by Camino de Santiago – the famous Spanish pilgrimage – which welcomes around 200,000 people each year. The Scottish route is part of a bigger European movement to revive pilgrimages (although it might be a tad chillier here in Scotland!).

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As walking and cycling have become increasingly popular – it’s hoped that the route will not only attract spiritual walkers. Iona and St Andrews are considered two of Scotland’s most iconic religious sites, but organisers would also like the route to become a rival for the West Highland Way.

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Some of the route is still very much in the planning stages. Permission from landowners, and of course, a method of taking walkers across the Atlantic from Mull to Oban are still to be arranged.

Of course you’ve still got Crieff’s trusty old hill, The Knock, to rely on while plans are finalised for the Caledonian Camino.

National Dog Day

Whip out the biscuits and buy a new chew-toy, because today is National Dog Day!

There’s no greater love in the world than that of an owner and their beloved dog.

No one is ever as consistently happy to see you arrive at the door than your furry extended-family member. Wagging their tail in celebration at your mere arrival, is a level appreciation that’s otherwise hard to find.

There aren’t many relationships in the world where one party is happy to dish out so much love and enthusiasm without fear of rejection. The darling dog will come back time and again, even when their loving efforts are rebuffed by a busy owner.

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You won’t find that kind of loyalty from a cat, out there chasing birds and playing hard to get. The cat doesn’t need you – but a dog will be there for you throughout the good and the bad, always by your side.

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We have Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and now on the top of our agenda is National Dog Day.

A day to celebrate our four legged-friends, and generally appreciate their existence in our lives.

It isn’t just the impact on our family lives that warrant the celebration of dogs, even those of us that don’t own a dog have plenty to be thankful to man’s best friend for.

They provide the blind with a level of independence which would be otherwise impossible. They stand by the police in their day to day duties. They detect bombs and drugs to keep us safe, and they locate victims buried under wreckage… Great work dogs!

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We say it’s time to treat our tail-wagging buddies, and repay some of that unconditional love that they doggedly dish-out.

Here at Crieff Hydro we like to make sure that there’s something for all of the family, and welcome your pooches with open arms. We’ve got 900 acres of land for you and your hairy-mate to spend some quality time together, and you can bring your pet along to your dinner at the Clubhouse or in our sister hotel – the Murraypark.

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All of our self-catering facilities are dog-friendly, and you can even check your furry-friend in to one of our executive rooms! There are kennels too, if your pup prefers to camp outside.

So join us to celebrate this year’s National Dog Day and surprise your canine chum with a trip to Crieff Hydro! Book now.

Crieff Highland Gathering

We’re furiously brushing up on our caber tossing skills, looking out our finest kilts and practising our Highland Fling. That’s right – we are fast approaching one of our favourite weekends, it’s the return of the Crieff Highland Gathering!

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The Highland Gathering is the highlight of Crieff’s summer calendar, and it has been for the past 130 years. We love it, and not just because it’s almost as old as we are.

It brings people together to enjoy themselves, come rain or shine (admittedly it’s usually rain!) It’s a wonderful day out but don’t take our word for it, take Obi Wan’s…

It takes place in the town’s historic Market Park this Sunday, and of course all of the classic highland games will be on display.

There’ll be muscly men throwing things, plenty of Scottish food and drink to enjoy and you’re more or less guaranteed to hear a bagpipe at some point.

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There’s also the mile long, Crieff Kilt Race which starts from the top end of the town, hurtles down the hill and finishes in the park. Any spectators looking uphill, should beware of the true Scotsman!

This year also sees the return of the Glenturret Live music tent. After a successful first year at the last Gathering, our friends from Glenturret Distillery have once again organised a fantastic line up of Scottish Music. Skippinish, Breabach – who have twice been nominated for ‘best band’ at the BBC 2 Folk Awards – and more will provide the soundtrack to the Gathering.

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The ‘Taste of Tartan’ mini food festival will be showcasing Strathearn local food and drink produce, and you’ll even get a cheeky wee taster. There’ll also be food and drink stalls for those who don’t have time to pack a picnic – it does start at 9.30AM on the day of rest after all.

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And, as if all of this wasn’t enough, the Chieftain of this year’s games will be Professional Golfers’ Association chairman, David Murchie, who’s even going to bring along the Ryder Cup for all of golf-mad Scotland to see.

Click the link to book your tickets for the Crieff Highland Gathering here.

Introducing Our New Spa Ranges

We’ve refreshed, rejuvenated and revitalised our Spa, with two new relax-inducing product ranges…

First up, we’re proud to announce that we’ve introduced the number one in German professional skincare – BABOR – to our Spa. With their tailor made products and lasting results, #WeAdoreBABOR!

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Coming from the spa town of Aachen in Germany – the award winning European products are crafted to suit each individual skin type. All of the treatments begin with a professional skin consultation to work out which products best suit your skin’s needs.

BABOR combine cutting edge technology with natural healing botanicals in their glass ampoules of goodness.

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The facials follow an eight step process with a warm and cool compresses applied between each treatment. The change from warm to cool leaves the skin feeling fresh and full of life. You can feel everything on the skin’s surface when the cool compress lifts off. The technique helps to boost circulation in the skin, and leaves you with a lasting healthy skin tone.

All of our Spa team have been fully trained by an expert from BABOR on how to deliver the treatments, so you’ll get the best results from these little ampoules.

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BABOR’s beautiful results on the skin aren’t our only reason for choosing them for our spa. When we opened our doors in 1868 as a hydropathic treatment hotel, it was water cures all around. With BABOR’s use of the healing power of water throughout all of their treatments and in the products themselves, we felt they would be right at home here at the Hydro.

Let’s introduce you to another addition to our Spa – next up, Aromatherapy Associates.

Aromatherapy Associates use completely natural ingredients in all of their products and keep them free of harsh chemicals and unnecessary synthetics.

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The personalised massages begin with a treatment consultation where you’ll fill out a form highlighting any problem areas. There are questions about digestion, skin type and stress levels which can be anything from asking if you spend long hours at the computer, to if you’ve got sinus problems.

One of our therapists will use the information to select three different oils which are relevant to your highlighted issues. You’ll choose your favourite scent to be used throughout the treatment.

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The molecules in Aromatherapy Associates’ oils are so fine that they actually enter the bloodstream through the hair shaft. The oil penetrates the skin and will stay in the body for around eight hours, so you’ll feel the benefits long after your treatment.

The treatment is about you – just you, and no one else. If you’re finding that you’ve been carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, and would like the attention to be focussed on releasing the tension from your back, then your therapist will do just that! Of course if you want them to avoid a particular area altogether, they’ll do that too.

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Check out our Spa Brochure to find the new treatment for you at the Crieff Hydro Spa.

National Afternoon Tea Week

It’s time to look out those teapots and proudly extend one’s pinky finger on end.

This week we are celebrating National Afternoon Tea Week. Once a rather stuffy and formal affair, the afternoon tea has reinvented itself and made a huge come back as the new and trendy thing to do.

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The tradition started in the tea-drinking capital that is England, back in 1840. The Duchess of Bedford was having a real hard time trying to keep up with the fashion of having her dinner at 8pm. The long gap between lunch and dinner left the poor Duchess going hungry.

To remain on top of fashion and get around her “hunger spells” she decided that a tray of tea, sandwiches and cake should be brought to her room in the late afternoon. She shared the delightful new habit with her friends and it soon progressed to a full-blown social craze.

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And why wouldn’t it – what’s not to love about tea, cakes and sandwiches.

Afternoon tea has since become more of a social event rather than an actual mealtime (although if you’re going to do a Duchess of Bedford and have afternoon tea every day, what better week to do it?)

There’s certainly much more variety than in the Duchess’ day…

There are themed afternoon teas – with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mad Hatters Tea Parties – and you can mix it up from the typical English experience with Indian, Oriental and French inspired afternoon teas.

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You can even get rid of the tea all together and substitute in some champagne, gin or even whisky or beer. The options are endless for those out there who feel a little hankering coming on between lunch and dinner.

Here at Crieff Hydro we are all about embracing the modern twist on the traditional afternoon tea with our Hendricks, whisky or Prosecco offerings. Have your tipple in a teapot we say!

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Book now.

 

 

Crieff High Street

Welcome to the Top 10 Things We Love blogs

Some are big, some are small. Some are man-made, some are natural. Some have tartan sheep, some don’t. They’re all very different but they all have one vital thing in common – we love them! And here’s why…

#9 Crieff High Street

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Only a five-minute stroll from our front door, the quaint little High Street is lined with loads of independently owned Scottish businesses.

Of course, it’s got all the fundamental essentials that we couldn’t live without – a hole in the wall, supermarket and a petrol station. But there’s an unspoilt, old-worldly feel to the street which makes it the perfect setting for all of the one-of-a-kind little shops.

You won’t find clones of these wee shops popping up elsewhere, and the businesses are doing pretty well too! There’s no need to look any further than Crieff High Street to find some award-winning celeb-recommended food.

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Fish in Crieff hooked the Fishmonger of the Year Award at last year’s Scottish Independent Retailer Awards. If you’re staying in our self-catering facilities, pop in and get something fresh! For something ready to eat, stop in at award-winning Campbell’s Bakery, which carries a strong recommendation from Crieff’s very own Ewan McGregor. They’ve been a popular stop on Crieff High Street for almost a century, serving the “the pie of all pies” according to Ewan.

It has to be said, it wouldn’t be a trip to the High Street without nipping in to Gordon and Durward’s sweetie shop. Opened in 1925, the traditional confectioner lets you watch the sweets being made in the back of the shop. Think Willy Wonka’s factory minus the Oompa-Loompa’s with a tartan vibe, and you’ve got it . On display in the window is a grandfather clock made totally of sweeties, you can’t miss it!

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Now that you’ve got the kids sorted out with some sweets, it’s time to seek out the adult treats! Next in line is J.L. Gill’s – specialising in high end Scottish food and drink for over 125 years – this is an ideal stop for gifts… Or maybe just to top-up the alcohol cupboard with some quality liquor.

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After all of this shopping it must be time for a pit stop! The bars and restaurants take on a more contemporary vibe, with Delivino’s, The Lounge and The Quaich offering modern interior, food and drink.

Gin lovers, this one is for you, The Square Bar and Kitchen offers 35 different gins from all over the globe.

The Square is one of the High Street’s newest developments and it is run by none-other than Fran, our Brasserie’s former cocktail-maestro.

Interestingly, the town has a history of taking a modern approach. Back in the day, while the town was being predominantly used as the meeting point for exchanging cattle between the highlands and lowlands of Scotland, Crieff became home to Scotland’s first lending library in 1680. You can still visit the library museum just outside of Crieff.

And if all this isn’t enough for you, who knows… You might even bump into Ewan McGregor!

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TBT the 80’s – it’s Rewind Festival!

It’s finally here, the weekend that all of us real music lovers have been looking forward to. The time has come to dig out our leg-warmers, don the broad shoulder pads and style the biggest of backcombed hair-do’s.

That’s right, we’re talking Rewind Festival… An overwhelming supply of eighties music is about to hit Perth and it’s a big one… we can’t wait!

Headliners include 80’s icons; Tony Hadley, ABC, Adam Ant, Holly Johnson, Big Country, but most importantly, the good people at Rewind have managed to secure the best of the best, the epitome of 80’s music and a British national treasure… the one and only – Rick Astley.

Astley’s career has taken a somewhat unlikely revival over recent years. The art of ‘Rickrolling’ has allowed for Rick to make a full comeback to the music scene, and what a comeback it has been, with him clinching the UK’s number one album spot this June – beating much less talented artists like Paul McCartney and Tom Odell to the post. We knew you could do it Rick.

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The internet phenomenon known as Rickrolling started in 2007, twenty years after the release of Astley’s unforgettable and fantastic track ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. The craze saw people being tricked into gave people the surprise gift of watching Rick Astley videos on YouTube when they had actually clicked on more enticingly-labelled links. As a result, his ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ YouTube video has now been viewed over 216 million times.

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June was a mixed bag of emotions for Astley fans and for Rick himself, at the start of the month he was dealt the devastating blow that a lorry load of his new albums had been sabotaged by vandals. The van was travelling through Calais when the stowaways on-board decided to amuse themselves by destroying the cargo of Rick’s hard work. It was thought that this could’ve had a detrimental effect on Astley’s comeback, in what was no doubt a very difficult time for him.

It’s unknown whether the attack was a protest by foreign music snobs or just a depraved act of mindless violence. What is known is that they couldn’t keep our Rick down for long, he bounced back from this crime against fine music within a week, to take his well-earned place at the number one spot.

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The vandals’ poor-taste (both musically and morally) would’ve left Rick feeling like he wanted to give up. Fortunately, they are in the minority with their badly-tuned ears as Rick has received an abundance of support from fans. In 2008 Rick was named the ‘Best Act Ever’ at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Honoured Astley received over 100 million votes which was more than all of the other winners that night combined.

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Almost thirty years after Astley first dominated the music scene, we will be treated some new sounds from his album ‘50’ at the Rewind Festival. Alongside the highly regarded artists, attendees will enjoy a funfair, an inflatable church, and a silent disco. What more could anyone ask for?!

 


Welcome to the Crieff News blog

For news and events in Crieff, Perthshire.

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